How a Judge Determines Bail Amounts

Once a suspect is arrested, the judge will set a bail amount on the first court appearance which might be an arraignment or a bail hearing. In most cases, judges adhere to standard practices such as smaller bail amounts for nonviolent petty misdemeanors. However, they can always raise or reduce the standard bail amount or waive it altogether and release the defendant on the person’s own recognizance depending on the circumstances of the case.

Bail Amounts: How Are They Set?

bail amounts set by judgesA lawyer isn’t necessary for a defendant to arrange bail. That’s because the cash bail can be posted personally or through contacting a bail agent who can arrange for the bond. On the other hand, friends or relatives most likely know about bail and how it works, and can always go to court or jail to post cash bail for the defendant or purchase the bond from the bail bondsman. Besides the seriousness of the crime charged, the bail amount is always determined using various factors.

Bail Factors:

These include the past criminal record of the defendant, if the defendant is employed or whether the defendant has close ties to the community and relatives. Recently, courts have started relying on match to make decisions about pretrial releases. In such jurisdictions, the information on the defendant is fed into a program and a recommendation or score comes out. The bail algorithms consider factors like criminal history and age to assess the risk whether the defendant will actually appear in court or commit another crime.

Special Bail Considerations

There are some circumstances where judges might legally deny bail. Take an instance where there is a warrant or hold on the defendant from another jurisdiction, the judge will keep the defendant in custody for a while. That way the other jurisdiction has enough time to pursue its charge. The judge can always deny bail on a defendant who is likely to flee the jurisdiction before the case is concluded.

In many parts of the country, defendants are allowed to post bail with the police before they reach court for the bail hearing or arraignment. Some of the jails have bail schedules posted that specify the bail amounts for common crimes. Therefore, a defendant can always be released immediately after paying the amount specified in the bail schedules. They are likely to differ depending on the type of crime, locality and residency of the defendant. It’s a general rule that felonies have a bail offense of 5 to 10 times the bail amount for misdemeanors.

High Bail Amounts

Serious crimes have a higher bail amount and the police will not accept any amount other than what’s set in the schedule so a defendant looking to pay less should always talk to the judge. Its in these circumstances that you should think about if you should bail the defendant out or not. This risks might be too high. There are also duty judges who can always fix bail through the phone without the mandatory formal court hearing. Therefore, for those arrested and looking not to go to court, they can always use this option to get bailed out.

Therefore, depending on the crime, the past history or if there are any warrants in other jurisdictions, the bail amount can vary. Also, the defendant can avoid going to the court appearance by using a bail schedule.

BACK